Amid Eruption, Taal Volcano Spews Lava Fountains, Classes Are Suspended, And Quakes Are Recorded

Stay safe.
PHOTO: (LEFT) COURTESY OF BRENDA FERNANDEZ-HIPOLITO; (RIGHT) Twitter/philvolcs_dost

Following Taal Volcano's phreatic eruption on January 12, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) hoisted alert level 4 (hazardous eruption imminent) and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) put all flights on hold.

Thousands of residents near the volcano were evacuated after it spewed ash and steam columns. A phreatic eruption is characterized by steam-driven explosions when "water beneath the surface or on the surface is heated by magma, lava, hot rocks, or new volcanic deposits." 

As a result of the eruption, ashfall has affected the areas of Batangas, Cavite, Bulacan, Rizal, and Metro Manila. 

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As of 3:20 a.m. on January 13, PHIVOLCS reported lava fountains from Taal Volcano's main crater. The lava fountains subsided by 4:30 a.m. and then emitted "steam plume." Classes in all levels and work in government offices were suspended for the safety of students and employees.

PHIVOLCS also recorded a total of 52 volcanic earthquakes in the Taal region as of 12:49 a.m. of January 13. 26 of these earthquakes were registered with intensities ranging from Intensity II to Intensity V in Tagaytay City; Cabuyao, Laguna; as well as Talisay, Alitagtag, Lemery and Bauan in Batangas.

"Such intense seismic activity probably signifies continuous magma intrusion beneath the Taal edifice, which may lead to further eruptive activity," PHIVOLCS warned.

The Department of Health has urged the public to wear N95-grade face masks or use a wet cloth or towel to prevent them from inhaling the ashfall particles. Motorists were cautioned drive with extreme caution due to poor visibility and the risk of roads getting slippery when wet.

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